• NBA.com talks about San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich being the perfect example of a true Coach of the Year:
More than any of the other annual awards, Coach of the Year always seems to honor the surprises over the superlatives. It is the one category that tends to say more about the voters than the candidates themselves.
How else can you explain Phil Jackson with 11 championship rings and just one Coach of the Year trophy?Isn't winning the most games what it's all about? So shouldn't the achievement of excellence carry more weight than exceeding our expectations?
Then there are the instances when those two lines on the graph converge to deliver the best of both worlds. That's why the pick for 2011 is Gregg Popovich.
• The New Orleans Hornets clinched a playoff spot but will they face the Spurs is still to be determined:
With four games remaining in the regular season, the New Orleans Hornets could fall anywhere from landing the fifth seed to having to face the San Antonio Spurs as the eighth seed in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. (nola.com)
• Foxsports.com says Gary Neal was a huge surprise this season while Richard Jefferson met expectations:
Did anybody know who Gary Neal was before the season? Neal, a friend of Anthony’s since childhood, played for the San Antonio Spurs’ summer league team after spending a few seasons in Europe. He made shots for the Spurs out in Las Vegas and was rewarded with a two-year deal worth $1.2 million. What a bargain. He has averaged 10 points and made 42 percent of his 3-point shots, helping the Spurs run off with the league’s top record.
Richard Jefferson had a bad year in San Antonio last season, failing to adjust to Gregg Popovich’s system. Then he looked foolish by opting out of his final season of his contract, at $15 million. But he re-signed for $27 million with the Spurs and has had his best season since he played with Jason Kidd in New Jersey, averaging 11 ppg on 48 percent shooting.
I've been very vocal on Project Spurs over the past few years about the travesty of San Antonio Spurs great Artis Gilmore not being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Gilmore, who has been eligible for induction in the hall for well over a decade, finally got his due, although a little too late.
Gilmore found out he would be enshrined along with former Spur Dennis Rodman, Chris Mullin, Arvydas Sabonis and several others.
But Gilmore almost didn't make it in once again. He was ineligible on the primary ballot, but Jerry Colangelo created a ABA committee, since it has been apparent over the years that although it is the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and not the NBA Hall of Fame, there has been a bias against ABA players.
While Gilmore will gladly accept the honor, when does late become too late?
Magic Johnson opined on the 1992 Dream Team's induction to the hall as a "bittersweet moment" since the late Chuck Daly was not around to enjoy the honor.
Gilmore thought he was headed down the same road. He told Steve Aschburner last year that he did not expect the honor to come in his lifetime.
While I do celebrate Gilmore's honor, I still wonder what more-than-deserving players, like Gilmore, are being left out and why.
As I said last year, Gilmore's induction was a no brainer years ago.
In the NBA, he was a six-time All-Star, made the All-Defensive second team in 1978 and was the career leader in field goal percentage.
After a career like that, you almost have to question the committee. How can a player that accomplished so much on the collegiate level, in the ABA and the NBA, not get a single vote?
You could say he never won a title, but neither did several other Hall-of-Famers, including recent inductee Karl Malone. Maybe it was his low-key, no hype personality, like current Spur Tim Duncan, but regardless of his personality, his numbers and accolades can speak for him more than he will.
While Gilmore's NBA numbers can stand on their own, if you combine his ABA and NBA numbers, they are ahead of many current Hall-of-Famers and would rank 14th in points and rebounds per game.
According to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame website, the hall was started in 1959 to honor the game's brightest stars.
Since 1959, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has honored and celebrated the game’s greatest moments and brightest stars. On the occasion of its 50th Anniversary, we look back as the greatest shrine to the greatest game fulfills its steadfast promise to be the world’s finest sports museum.
It's nice to know that in 2011, they finally got that one right.
The San Antonio Spurs beat the Sacramento Kings last night, clinching the number one seed in the Western Conference but once again Gary Neal was on the wrong end of a dunk and got posterized by Kings' Tyreke Evans:
This was not the first time Neal was on the wrong end of a dunk. Remember this?
I can appreciate Neal's attempt to pick up the offensive foul but I hate to see him get crushed like this, again! Hopefully the law of averages will swing in Neal's favor and he can posterize some player soon.
The San Antonio Spurs (60-19) clinched home court advantage in the Western Conference playoffs and extended their winning streak to three games Wednesday night, with a 124 to 92 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings (23-55) came into the AT&T Center on a two game winning streak as they’d just beaten the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
This game was a tale of two halves for the Spurs as they struggled in the first two quarters and set a new season high offensively in the second half.
Going into halftime, the Spurs narrowly led the Kings 51 to 49. The Spurs would make a complete one-eighty as defense and ball movement sparked the Spurs to outscore the Kings 73 to 43 in the second half.
The Spurs came out sloppy to begin the third quarter as they turned the ball over on their first possession and allowed Kings guard Francisco Garcia to make two three pointers early.
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili began a Spurs rally as he threw a full court pass to Antonio McDyess who dunked the ball backwards with two hands. The Spurs lead began to grow as they went up 68 to 61 with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
With six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Ginobili gave the Spurs their first double-digit lead as they went up by ten points.no comments
• With the Los Angeles Lakers dropping two home games recently, Derek Fisher sounded off on chasing the number one seed and playing the Spurs:
"We're definitely not helping ourselves in that regard," Fisher said. "But like we've been doing, which allowed us to have the success we've been having the last couple of months, is we mainly focused on ourselves. We haven't spent a lot of time about other people's performances and what their record is and whatnot. Regardless of how we finish these last five or six games, and if we have homecourt or not, the reality of it is, we have to play the type of basketball we're capable of playing to beat the best teams. Obviously, homecourt by losing to Denver on Sunday and losing to Utah on Sunday. You can have homecourt against San Antonio, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Boston. Obviously, if we can't beat teams on our homecourt, it's irrelevant. We just have to play better." (latimes.com)
• NBA.com asks if the Spurs can hang on?
Ordinarily, expending every last ounce of energy chasing down the best overall record in the league would not be of paramount importance in San Antonio. But having led the field since early November, surely the Spurs do not want to be run down from behind now by the Lakers or Bulls. They won't openly admit it, but the recent six-game slide -- longest in the Tim Duncan Era -- put a chink of vulnerability and doubt into the Spurs' armor.
• Express News' Tim Griffin talks about the Spurs falling in most NBA Power Rankings.
• Austin Toros head coach Brad Jones wants all his players to make it in the NBA or overseas:
“I hope all these guys end up in the NBA or oversees making 50 grand a month, so hopefully none of them are back because they’re all making a gazillion dollars,” Jones said. “Having said that, I really like this group we have right now and obviously if it fit in their career path, then we would love to have them come back.” (TorosNation.com)
Last week we introduced our new feature, "Writers Sound Off." Our writers are now back at it again.
Each week, our writers will sound off on one topic of the week with short audio takes. If you are a Spurscast subscriber, you'll also be seeing podcasts with all of our takes together along with your weekly Spurscast.
Our topic this week was can the San Antonio Spurs make a late playoff run without the first seed. Listen below and then find out how to join in on the fun.
Michael De Leon, Founder -
Jordan Rivas, Writer -
Paul Garcia, Staff Writer -
Jason Rogers, Staff Writer -
Arianne Villanueva, Spanish writer
Jake Faunce, Staff Writer -
So those are our takes for the week. Feel free to use our comments section to give your take on if you agree/disagree or want to pick who's take was the best.
The San Antonio Spurs (59-19) return to action tonight after a win over the Atlanta Hawks yesterday. The Spurs will face the Sacramento Kings (23-54) at the AT&T Center as the Kings also won last night in Houston.
The Spurs lead the series against the Kings at 2-0. The two teams first met in February as Tony Parker (25 points) led the Spurs to a 113-100 victory. Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 25 points in that meeting.
The second meeting took place in March where Parker (27 points) led the Spurs to a 108-103 victory. The Kings were led by forward Omri Casspi (16 points) and Jermaine Taylor (16 points).
What the Spurs Do Well?
Scoring: The Spurs are sixth in the Association in scoring at 103.6 points per game. The fast-paced spread offense is a monster when rolling on all cylinders. The key to the Spurs balanced offense is the bench. In the win last night against the Hawks, the team only scored 97 points. The “Big 3” produced the majority of the scoring and George Hill was the only bench player (13 points) to contribute efficiently.
Pass: The Spurs are seventh in the league in assists with 22.5. Ball movement is the key to the Spurs offensive system. Open shots will be available if the silver and black pass at least three times in a possession (You’ll find out why it’s easy to pass and score against the Kings as you keep reading.)
What the Kings Do Well?
Rebound: The Kings are the fourth best rebounding team with 43.7 boards per game. A frontline of Samuel Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson attribute to these numbers.
Where the Spurs Need Some Improvement?
Defense: The Spurs are ranked fourteenth in the NBA in points allowed per game at 97.9. Even though the Spurs are on a two game winning streak, they are still having trouble playing consistent defense quarter by quarter. You’ll usually see a quarter-by-quarter breakdown that display’s something like this: 1Q: 31, 2Q: 25, 3Q: 21, 4Q: 28.
Rebounding: The Spurs grab 41.8 rebounds per game, which ranks them at thirteenth in the league. This issue is evident due to the Spurs not having one post player that is taller than seven feet. They have two 6’11 players on the roster, one from the Virgin Islands, and the other from Brazil. But one of those players didn’t see any playing time in Atlanta, he might see some playing time tonight at home. Can you guess which player it was?no comments
After coming off an impressive win against the Nash-less Phoenix Suns, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Atlanta Hawks (44-34) in Atlanta 97 to 90.
“It was a huge win for us,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili after the game.
The Hawks currently represent the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Defense, and a very efficient game from the “Big 3” were the keys to the Spurs’ victory on a night where they weren’t looking for their accustomed array of outside shots. The Spurs only attempted eight three pointers in the game.
After the game, Spurs guard George Hill commented on head coach Gregg Popovich’s main focus.
“He wants us to be a solid team defensively.”
The game began with Spurs guard Tony Parker and forward Tim Duncan combining for 10 of the Spurs’ 12 points halfway through the quarter. For the Hawks, forward Al Horford and guard Joe Johnson combined for eight of the Hawks’ 10 points midway through the first.
Jamal Crawford came in off the bench and scored seven points for the Hawks, the Spurs’ offense struggled as the team only connected on eight baskets in the first quarter as they trailed Atlanta 16 to 21.
In the second quarter, Atlanta’s defense forced the Spurs to turn the ball over and the frontcourt of Spurs forwards DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner yielded an uncontested Jeff Teague layup and a Marvin Williams coast-to-coast layup. The Hawks lead increased to eight points (32-24) with 8:34 remaining.no comments
• NBA.com says Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl should be the 2010-2011 NBA Coach of the Year and not San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich:
There are several great candidates for the Coach of the Year award this season. Doug Collins, Phil Jackson, George Karl, Nate McMillan, Gregg Popovich and Tom Thibodeau all deserve recognition for the job they’ve done with their teams.
With the Nuggets original roster, Karl coached the No. 1 offense in the league. With a completely different kind of roster since the trade, Karl is coaching the No. 1 defense in the league.
But those numbers don’t match the Nuggets’ impressive transition from elite offensive team to elite defensive team. And that may be why George Karl deserves to be named Coach of the Year.
• SportsInteraction.com asks if the Los Angeles Lakers can catch the Spurs for the number one seed in the playoffs:
The Spurs pre-playoff collapse has changed that situation and now they lead the Lakers by just 2.5 games. With L.A. having 6 games to play, as opposed to San Antonio’s 5, the Spurs must win 4 of their final 5 games to be absolutely certain of clinching first place in the West.
• HoopsWorld.com talks about George Hill as an important key to the Spurs' success:
The big three's production in the postseason is a given. They're going to do their part, but there will be nights where they need help and no other Spur is more capable than Hill.
• Richard Jefferson fielded some questions from fans in San Antonio. Check out the video at Spurs.com.
• Austin Toros head coach Brad Jones had this to say to the Toros players when their season ended:
“I told them that the goal in this league, whether you win a championship or not is we make them feel like they’ve gotten better,” he said. “That’s the goal of our staff. Everyday we come to work trying to help them get better, while at the same time winning some games. Hopefully they feel that way. We didn’t meet all of our team goals, but hopefully they met some of their individual goals.” (TorosNation.com)